Google bid on Fitbit

Credit: Fitbit

Google may be looking to buy their way back into the wearables space in a big way.

As originally reported by Reuters, Alphabet has made an offer to acquire wearable and health player Fitbit.

Neither side have commented on the story as of yet. However, the news comes several months after Reuters previously reported that Fitbit were looking for a buyer amid struggles in the wearables and smartwatch market.

If the deal comes to fruition, it could have massive implications for the shape of the wearables marketplace.

Outside of the Apple Watch, Fitbit have been one of the more successful brands playing in the smartwatch - though the brand have struggled to pivot from the once-lucrative fitness tracker space to smartwatches in recent years. 

In our recent review of the Fitbit Versa 2, we said that "The Versa 2 provides meaningful improvements over the original that make it the definitive Fitbit smartwatch to buy but little in the way of genuine innovation. Honestly, it doesn’t feel like Fitbit’s latest really pushes things forward or changes the smartwatch equation in any real way."

"If you already own an iPhone, you’re still probably going to be better off with an Apple Watch over this (unless you’re super-keen on the sleep tracking, I guess). However, if you don’t and you aren’t keen on the strings attached to Samsung’s more recent smartwatches, the Versa 2 is probably about as compelling as the original was for many of the same reasons."

Google have had their own setbacks as well. Though they've technically been in the space for a few years via their smartwatch operating system Wear OS, they've struggled to gain traction despite the backing of watch brands like Fossil.

According to recent numbers from Canalys, Wear OS accounts for just 4.1% of the smartwatch market. This pales compared to the 10.6% share commanded by Samsung, Fitbit's own 24.1% and Apple's 37.9% market share.

Persistent rumors of a "Pixel Watch" have done the rounds in recent years but the project has never eventuated into a consumer product. Acquiring Fitbit is their way of muscling their way into the space in a meaningful way.

Our take? Google love their data buying Fitbit means buying one of - if not the - biggest health-tracking database in the world. It seems like an obvious net gain for both companies and it could represent the emergence of the first real threat to the dominance of Apple in the smartwatch space.

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Fergus Halliday
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